The Fifteen-Year Party, also sometimes called Quinceanera Party, Fifteen Party, Quinceañera, or simply Fifteen, is a party in which a girl is presented to society.
The party can have Catholic religious orientation in countries like Mexico. This special day is common in Latin America, an exception from countries like Chile where this celebration never had nor has had relevance, on the contrary, it was only celebrated by a small number of families in high or accommodated social sectors until the 1970s and 1980s. The word Quinceañera refers to the girl herself who turns 15 years old.
The celebration marks the transition from girl to woman of the quinceañera. It serves as a way of recognizing that the girl in question has reached maturity. The celebration, however, changed a lot according to different countries. However, turning 15does not mean that the girl in question is of legal age because this may vary according to the laws of each country.
In Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru, Honduras, Brazil, Guatemala, and Uruguay the party begins with the arrival of the quinceañera, who wears a dress made especially for the occasion, usually vaporous and in the style of princesses, normally accompanied by her father’s arm, with a special entrance through the main door, accompanied by music, with applause from the guests. Then the waltz ceremony begins, in which the girl dances first with her father and then with relatives and friends.
In Mexico, for this occasion, the Quinceañera is made up and combed especially for the event, leaving the specific makeup and hairstyle, and wearing a dress with the colors that the Quinceañera chooses.
In Mexican tradition, if the Quinceañera is Catholic, the holiday begins with a Mass of Thanksgiving. The Quinceañera attends the Mass with a formal dress (usually striking and creative, alluding to a kind of princess) of the color she chose previously (usually pastel or intense or simply white tones), where a medal is awarded for the godfather or godmother, being previously blessed, accompanied by parents, godparents (sometimes baptism) and chamberlains.
After the Mass, the Quinceañera travels in a limousine with the companions, followed by a party at the Quinceañera’s house or at the banquet of a dining room, casino, headdress, or party room, reserved for the occasion. At the party the Quinceañera usually dances some waltzes with her chamberlains.
Other rituals are also performed, such as the last toy, from the Mayan tradition, this being the last object a child used, as the person is getting close to marriage; and also one of the shoes, in which the father of the Quinceañera changes her shoe for a high heel, which also symbolizes the step to the maturity.
After starting dinner (or before all the dances) the party arrives, the musical groups or contracted groups give life and spirit to the party.